Whether you drink tea or not, having one of the best kettles in your kitchen is a must. You might not enjoy a hot beverage, but if you're going to at least look a little gregarious, asking your guests (and tradespeople) if they would like a brew is common courtesy when hosting.
Aside from its drink-making abilities, the humble kettle is your hob's BFF. Rather than wasting electricity to bring cold water up to temperature, you can fast-track your food prep and save energy with just one flick of the switch.
And, outside of the kitchen, it's an unsung hero for unclogging drains and filling your hot water bottle when the mercury dips a couple of degrees.
But before you make this hot purchase, it's worth noting that not all kettles are made equal. From capacity to temperature settings, lid types, and colours, make sure your appliance works for you — otherwise, it'll just be blowing hot air!
If you're after something a little more permanent, take a look at our best boiling water taps so you can have hot H2O at your fingertips.
The best kettles in 2023
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Not only will this kettle save on space, but it also saves you time too. When we put it to the test, it was a fast boiler and a delight to pour. It comes in white, black, grey, or cream and is a great affordable option that’s small on price, yet big on style. For a streamlined flow of water every time, this model has a special spout designed for the very purpose.
The large upright design of this kettle means it's less ideal for boiling one cup of tea at a time, as the markings on the side start at three cups and go up. The kettle is speedy too, taking 2 minutes and 15 seconds to boil one litre of tap water. It's not the most insulated though, losing 31 degrees after half an hour.
It's hard to argue with the cost of this kettle, which feels well-made and also looks sweet yet striking. The matching toaster is also a winner, and it comes in two- and four-slice options.
Sage's The Smart Kettle will set you back around £100, but it's got heaps of smart features to justify the price. That includes five temperature buttons for green tea, black tea, coffee, and even oolong. There is also a keep-warm button which will allow you to make sure you get the perfect temperature for your coffee or matcha without needing to re-boil.
The lid opens softly with the touch of a button, a small feature that feels luxurious to use. It's also transparent, meaning you can peek in to watch your water begin to bubble. We found that the Sage The Smart Kettle was very easy to use and boiled quietly. Pouring was a pleasure, with a sturdy handle and surprisingly cool exterior despite its brushed stainless steel finish.
Our boil time was 2 minutes and 17 seconds, which puts the Sage The Smart Kettle among the faster kettles we tried. Insulation was pretty good, with a loss of just 27 degrees after 30 minutes.
Balancing value with quality design, the Morphy Richards Signature Kettle is practically perfect in every way. The sleek design is matte and streak-free, so you won't be wiping it down every few uses. After boiling, we were able to comfortably touch the exterior thanks to its insulated lower portion.
The boil time was 2 minutes and 55 seconds — admittedly, one of the longer boil times we tested. It was whisper-quiet though, and if it hadn't been for the switch light which clearly shows that the kettle was on, we wouldn't have thought it was even running.
Thirty minutes after boiling, the litre of water in the Morphy Richards Signature Kettle had only lost 21 degrees, which gave it a clear lead of all the kettles we tested when it came to insulation. This energy-efficient feature will keep the cost of reheating lower.
When it came to pouring, we enjoyed the rubberized underside of the handle and the spout, which provided a smooth experience, despite the removable limescale filter. It's also backed by a two-year warranty; what's not to love?
On the opposite end of the pricing spectrum is this Beko kettle. The kettle is available in a spectrum of four colours. The coordinating toasters can also be bought so you can create a tea-and-toast set up.
With a generous capacity of 1.7L, this kettle will provide enough teas, coffee, and hot chocolates to go around the household. We love how quickly it reaches temperature so you won't be waiting long for a brew. Our litre-boil test took just 2 minutes and 4 seconds. What's more, the exterior remained cool enough to test even after boiling.
If there isn't enough water left in the tank after, this kettle will automatically turn itself off to protect the elements. It also has a removable and washable limescale filter so your water is always clean and pure.
This classic kettle from Dualit is a keeper. Even though the kettle is quite costly, it's built to last and you know you’ll be getting quality. Its patented replaceable element keeps your kettle going for longer and can be repaired instead of simply thrown away. Along with its matching toaster, this model is a winner for eco credentials.
The boil time was admittedly the slowest of the group, at 3 minutes and 6 seconds for one litre. That's not ideal for quick cuppas — some of the kettles we tested managed a litre in half the time. Insulation was decent, with 25 degrees lost in half an hour. However, when it came to opening that hinged lid, we struggled to pull it away without hurting our hand on the hot metal.
The Kenwood Elegancy Kettle has a unique design. The body of the kettle is tilted forward, which makes it look ready to pour at any time. It's available in a selection of colours, including sage green, clotted cream, and mulberry (the one we tested). We also enjoyed the matching toaster. The set is surprisingly affordable from a brand we've always associated with quality.
This kettle was on the noisier side, with a simple plastic exterior that doesn't do much to mask the sound of what's happening inside. The boil time was 2 minutes and 21 seconds, making it one of the slower kettles we tried.
Insulation wasn't amazing, with a temperature of 63 degrees after 30 minutes — a lot lower than our top choices. The exterior stayed relatively cool though, and the cost to boil was only 3p at the new energy price cap levels.
Available in plush rose, metallic pistachio, stainless steel, or frosty pearl colours, this multi-temperature kettle doesn't sacrifice style with its smart design. Press the plus or minus buttons to between 85 and 100 degrees in increments of five. Then just press the "start" button to illuminate the kettle, which provides a visual sign that your water is heating up. The LCD display shows the temperature and lights up when it's on.
The lid opens with the press of a button, so you won't have to scorch your hand when topping it up once your kettle is empty. It does get quite warm to touch though, but the handle is luckily well-insulated.
We recorded a litre boil time of exactly two minutes, which is one of the speediest kettles we tried. It also boils very quietly, but note that it does make a loud beeping noise when it's done. Insulation is decent, with a loss of 27 degrees after a half an hour.
Available in 10 colours, the Swan 1.8 Litre Retro Dome Kettle is one of the most affordable models on the market. We tried it in a fun pastel purple colour, which was incredibly lightweight to hold. The overhead handle might offer a more enjoyable pour if you don't want to bend your wrist too much when making a cuppa.
Taking just 1 minute and 43 seconds to boil, this is one of the fastest kettles we tried, and its energy consumption was low at just 3p per boil. The exterior is very thin, and you wouldn't be able to touch the Swan 1.8 Litre Retro Dome Kettle after boiling without scorching your hand (believe us, we tried it!) This will be an instant no for some buyers, but for those without kids or pets to worry about it's just something to note.
Despite the thin exterior, the Swan 1.8 Litre Retro Dome Kettle insulated our water pretty well. It was 73 degrees after a half-hour wait, and given the speedy boil, we think it'd be easy enough to bring it back to 100 degrees when you're done with your first cuppa.
Putting function before fashion, the Gastroback Colour Vision Pro Jug Kettle is hardly the most aesthetically pleasing kettle we tested. And that matters to us, because your kettle will be living in your kitchen full-time and we love a stylish kitchen. You might like the look though, and there's no denying that this is a clever little kettle.
The adjustable temperature can be fully altered using the buttons on the top of the handle with the Gastroback Colour Vision Pro Jug Kettle. It's got the capability to go from 50 degrees right up to 100, which is a better range than a lot of adjustable temperature kettles. The water temperature is also reflected in the colour-changing display, which goes from blue to red to reflect the water temperature.
We liked that this kettle beeps loudly when it's finished boiling, something that will come in handy if you're going about other tasks waiting for it to boil. You should expect a fair wait though, as the three-minute boil time was a lot longer than many of the kettles we tried. The insulation was average, with the water reading 73 degrees after half an hour.
With a 360 swivel-base, this kettle is suitable for right and left-handed people, and it's also narrow enough to sit in just about any corner of the kitchen. That compact design doesn't come at the expense of a generous 1.7 litre capacity, and the fully removable lid means you won't struggle to refill the Breville Aura Electric Kettle.
We tried it in a black finish with metallic gold shimmer. It's not going to be for everybody, but we could see it looking right at home in a more modern kitchen. For those who prefer a cool-toned look, there is also a shimmer grey option, and both come with the choice of a matching toaster.
The Breville Aura Electric Kettle boiled in 2 minutes and 24 seconds, making it one of the slower models we tried. It also cost 4p to boil one litre, and the insulation wasn't outstanding. Our water was at 67 degrees when we took it half an hour after boiling.
How we tested the best kettles
Millie Fender is Head of Reviews at Real Homes. Formerly our Small Appliance expert, she has tested countless kettles over the years and knows how to tell a well-made model. Millie continues to test a number of these models in her home, so she can keep you updated on how well they continue to function after months of use.
We tested the best kettles my lining them up in our test kitchen and timing how long they took to boil, measuring the temperature readings to verify. We then left them for half an hour to assess how well-insulated each kettle was, taking a second temperature reading and comparing the results to see how much heat each kettle lost.
In our testing we also took an energy meter reading to assess the ongoing cost of use. As these kettles were new, the cost will only go up as limescale builds, but if you keep them clean this can be a good indication of how energy-efficient your kettle is.
We also took into account the style of each kettle, asking members of the team which look they'd be happiest to have in their kitchen. We poured with each kettle, tested how easy they were to re-fill, and tested whether they had the potential to burn you if you touched the exterior of the kettle after it had boiled.
Where to buy the best kettle
- Amazon kettles (opens in new tab)
- AO.com (opens in new tab) kettles (opens in new tab)
- Argos (opens in new tab) kettles (opens in new tab)
- Currys PC World (opens in new tab) kettles (opens in new tab)
- Dunelm (opens in new tab) kettles (opens in new tab)
- John Lewis & Partners (opens in new tab) kettles (opens in new tab)
- Robert Dyas (opens in new tab) kettles (opens in new tab)
- Very (opens in new tab) kettles (opens in new tab)
- Wayfair (opens in new tab) kettles (opens in new tab)
When to replace your kettle
Thea Whyte, kettle expert at AO.com says: 'The average lifespan of an electric kettle is around 4 to 5 years. There are some tell-tale signs that you should probably start looking to buy a new one,'
- Change in taste: A build-up of minerals in your kettle can start to alter the taste of your boiled water. If you start to notice a metallic taste, it’s probably time to get a new kettle. Regular cleaning/descaling can reduce the build-up of these minerals and increase the lifespan of your appliance.
- Taking longer to boil: The heating element in your kettle can lose efficiency over time. This is primarily due to limescale build up, particularly in hard water areas. If you notice that it’s taking longer to make your morning brew, it’s probably time to replace the appliance. Regular descaling can help to prolong the shelf life of your kettle.
How to choose the best kettle
When you're looking to buy a new kettle, whether it's a replacement or a second kettle, there are a few elements to consider to make sure you get the best kettle for you. They are:
Capacity: In short, how much water does your kettle hold? If there's only one or two of you living at home, you might be able to work with a smaller-sized model that holds around a litre (or about three mugs). The most popular size is approximately 1.7-1.8 litres.
We all want to do our bit for the environment and saving energy also cuts down on the bills too — win-win for everyone. Look for kettles with specific energy-reducing features and functions, such as rapid boil, digital control, and variable temperature to ensure you don’t needlessly over-boil. The best stovetop kettles and the best hot water dispensers can also be useful in this arena.
While the cost to boil a kettle isn't scaldingly expensive, it's worth keeping an eye on (especially if members of your household like to brim the kettle and reboil it). The higher the wattage, the more powerful your electric kettle is. Which means a pricier cuppa!
Practically every appliance in the home is now available in a smart version for those who love their tech. Even kettle manufacturers have got in on the act, with models that can be operated via an app on your smartphone or tablet. Some are even voice controlled for a hands-free switch on. So now you can turn the kettle on without leaving the sofa, or get it boiling your way home from work when you fancy a brew. Of course you’ll still have to get up to actually make it yourself, but who knows what the future holds!
Investing in a new kettle (and maybe a matching toaster, too) is a great way of sprucing up kitchen worktops. These designs come in everything from rose gold to jewel-like patterns, so you’re not only getting the very latest technology but you’re also gaining a stylish appliance.
Many of the best kettles can be paired with toasters for a coordinated kitchen counter, so take a look at matching sets when you find the model you want.
As well as being functional, your appliance should match your personal style preferences. A stainless steel kettle might be more expensive than a plastic version, but it will last longer and look better.
Ease to clean
No one likes crunchy bits at the bottom of their teacup, so consider how simple it is to descale your kettle.
Assess how easy or difficult it is to empty and refill the kettle. While some electric kettles come with a push-button lid, others have a more manual process of removing the top, replacing the water under your tap, and then replacing the top.
What brand of kettle is the quietest?
The Dualit Classic kettle has been awarded the Quiet Mark (opens in new tab), which means it's recognised as ultra-quiet to use. This makes it a must for those who like to get up for a cuppa late at night or very early in the morning, including new parents with night-time feeds.
Instant boiling water tap vs. electric kettle: Which is the best for energy?
There are advantages and disadvantages to heating water with both fixtures.
'To maintain water at a hot temperature, a hot water tap will use around 10 watts of energy,' explains Carrie Bell, head of marketing at The CDA Group Limited. 'In comparison, the average kettle uses between 2–3 kilowatts every time you switch it on. That means if you have six cups of coffee or tea a day, that roughly equates to half an hour throughout the day boiling a kettle, it will use 15 times more energy than an instant hot water tap will. Even for those of us who can’t go ten minutes without a nice cup of tea, the instant hot water tap will prove a much more energy-efficient option.'
However, a boiling water tap comes with a pricier upfront cost and is better suited for a home you own (rather than rent). So we say go for what you can afford and which option suits your lifestyle.